Swiss Cheese Childhoods
Hello Readers, In order to explain better the concept of less-than-nurturing childhood experience and preparation for adulthood, last week I used the metaphor of a block of Swiss cheese. Consider that a person in their adult years stands on a block of Swiss cheese as they navigate the present life of being a grown-up.
A healthy adult stands on their two foot by two foot Swiss cheese block with few holes in it. There are some holes, but these holds provide variety and flavor. They make life interesting and unique. This person enjoys the benefits of resiliency, flexibility, and belief in themselves.
Now let’s look at the cheese block of a person not as prepared. As they are standing on their block of Swiss cheese, the amount of holes in their cheese represents lack of guidance, direction, maybe life preparation deficits that person may not possess. Now consider the blasts through the block of Swiss cheese that made various holes from trauma, neglect, relational difficulties, or bullying and the like. These make for more holes in the cheese.
For their entire life, they have been balancing on this block of cheese. Only, when they were earlier in the adult years they used their physical will, sheer determination, and/or avoidance tactics (addiction or escapism of some kind) to move forward despite their lack. By the time they are in their mid-adulthood they cannot withstand the pace. They struggle. They fall. They experience suicidal thoughts, break-ups of relationships, anxiety they never used to have.
They end up in my office. Oh, they have accomplished much! Successful jobs, military careers, families, success in many forms. Only now their bodies are bearing the toll.
And they cannot understand what went wrong. Hence, the Swiss cheese analogy.
You are not bad or wrong. You were less optimally prepared. You are here now, and I respect your recently discovered difficulties.
Together, we can be together in a safe, therapeutic environment/relationship that encourages you to be “with” yourself.
Oh, you can do it yourself. There is just something sacred about a non-judgmental, unconditional positive regard, relationship.
"Counseling is a professional relationship that empowers diverse individuals, families, and groups to accomplish mental health, wellness, education, and career goals."
—American Counseling Association 2010